What the fuck?? They’re trying to throw MS into the ‘oppression criteria’ now? My mom was just diagnosed with MS and it was making her go blind on one eye and her memory’s shit because of it. What the fuck is up with the psychos on this site wanting life-threatening or impairing disorders just to feel special? It pisses me off.
I hope that everyone who pulls this self-diagnosing shit will live long lives. Without love or warmth, never knowing the barest human dignity.
Why on the gods’ earth would anyone want to self-diagnose a disease as life-terraforming as MS? If you think you have any illness this major, you don’t self-diagnose, you get your ass to a doctor. You don’t self-diagnose ANY major disease. You ruin the reception that those who really have those diseases will get, and you ruin your own reception when you develop a real problem of your own—and you will, there is this thing called age. Treat your body, your family, and your friends right. Take the serious stuff seriously.
Some people can’t afford the time and money it takes to seek a professional diagnosis. In the case of mental health and developmental disabilities, some people cannot seek an official diagnosis because they would not be safe, for employment or child custody reasons, or because they have been abused and threatened by therapists previously, or cannot be officially diagnosed because of misinformation and ignorance within the psychiatric community itself.
Self-diagnosis — sincere, well-researched self-diagnosis, and I have never met anyone self-diagnosed who had not slogged through weeks of research and self-doubt — does not ruin the reception of people who “really” have those diseases. It does not prevent anyone from attaining services they need. Ableism does that. Self-diagnosis is not part of ableism. Sometimes, self-diagnosis is necessary because of ableism, because the medical community — which we are, allegedly, supposed to rely on for “legitimate” diagnoses — is horrifically ableist.
Self-diagnosis does allow people to understand symptoms that may have been frightening, confusing, and distressing when unexplained. Self-diagnosis does allow people to better take care of themselves, plan for their abilities, and seek help they need (which, I repeat, does not prevent those with official diagnoses from doing the same).
I am physically abled, so I can’t speak for a physical disability like MS. Perhaps in that case it is different. But you seem here to tar all self-diagnoses with the same brush, and that is simply wrong.
As an autistic person with ADHD, when I first discovered those things it was a massive relief. Because my life before then had been a hell of confusion and self-hatred, because I couldn’t understand why I was so different from my allistic peers, why I couldn’t do things that seemed so easy for them, why they couldn’t do some things that came so easily for me. I did later seek (and received) professional diagnosis, but professional diagnosis is not available to everyone, and every diagnostic process begins with self-diagnosis.
Self-diagnosis is both valid and extremely important for many people. Insisting that only professional diagnoses have value and are “real” is both classist and ableist.
I don’t believe I’ve ever been called “classist.”
I do understand very well the limits placed on people by money and access, and I also understand very well that many professionals are flawed. America is presently brawling over the right of all people to have access to some kind of medical care, even if it is flawed, and the kind of testing that will get people past inadequate care to better care. All we can do is try. People—medical people—are human. We cannot promise perfect care to everyone, but it would be nice to get some kind of care to everyone, and accurate tests and a process that will send people to better care. If that’s classist, then we are all classist for wanting something better, for ourselves and for the next generation.
At the present time not everyone can sort out medical journals and reach the right conclusions—I know I am not—and forgive me, a-fierce-macaw, but when it comes to the bell-shaped curve, I am ableist. That you were able to work out your real diagnoses is a triumph of your own intellect and persistence. Many people could not work it out. Hate me for that if you will.
I wasn’t at all offended by what you wrote. I don’t agree with all of it. I’m afraid I might have offended you again, and disappointed you again.
I’m really hoping this is a big situation of miscommunication.
Tamora, it sounds like your first post in this conversation was solely talking about self-diagnosing major life-changing illnesses. I agree that if you suspect that you have something major going on, you should get to a doctor right away. However, I feel I must point out that researching your symptoms initially is also an important thing to do. Sometimes you end up with a bad doctor who isn’t taking your situation as seriously as they should, and doing research ahead of time might literally end up saving your life, as well as helping you learn more about what could be happening to your body.
a-fierce-macaw then brought up the topic of self-diagnosis in general, speaking not only about illnesses, but of neurodivergences such as autism and ADHD. These are not illnesses or diseases like you were speaking of. Neurodivergences and mental disorders are harder to diagnose for a general doctor, it seems. I myself had to go to a specialist to get an official diagnosis for Asperger’s Syndrome, and many people simply cannot afford that.
One of the big problems with dismissing self-diagnosis of neurodivergence, a mental disorder, or a mental illness is that it makes it so much harder for those people to get the help they need. Most schools, if not all, in America will not give students things such as time-and-a-half on tests or let them audio record their classes unless they have an official diagnosis from a professional. If you can’t afford that, then you’re out of luck in that regard, which certainly doesn’t make it any easier for you in the long run, financially.
I’ve heard a lot of stories of people claiming to have a mental problem to be “quirky.” Joking that they have OCD because they like to keep things neat, claiming they have depression solely because they had a few bad days in a row, saying they have ADHD because they’re fidgety. I’ve even read a story about somebody who acted like a complete git, including stabbing a girl’s paralyzed leg with a fork to see if she really couldn’t feel anything there, and explained away her behavior because she “had Asperger’s Syndrome.” This isn’t true self-diagnosis. This is people who don’t actually know what these things are, and so tossing out the terms left and right without understanding the depth of those terms.
Actual self-diagnosis of mental problems/differences is INCREDIBLY IMPORTANT for a lot of people. If you can’t afford to see a professional to get an official diagnosis, can’t afford a therapist, can’t afford medication, then at LEAST you can find people who are going through the same thing as you. I self-diagnosed as an aspie over a year because I was able to convince my parents to let me see a professional.
Eight months ago, I was also diagnosed with anxiety disorder, depression, ADD, and OCD. At that time, I finally was able to start taking medication that has turned my life around. I was at a point where I wasn’t even capable of self-motivation 99% of the time, I often forgot to eat, and I was horribly depressed and felt like I was an awful, lazy, ungrateful person.
The only thing that was able to keep me going, was able to keep me sane, was my friends. Many of my friends are also on the autism spectrum, at least one has OCD, several have depression, some have ADD/ADHD, and a lot of them have anxiety issues. Being able to connect to these people and share my experiences with them has been so amazingly helpful for me.
In addition, if I had refused to self-diagnose anything, then I probably would never even have taken that first step to see a professional about Asperger’s. And I am sure that I would be in a far worse place now if I hadn’t gotten any of that help. Self-diagnosing let me learn more about my mental differences/problems. I found countless websites with information about Asperger’s, and I learned ways to help cope with things like sensory overload even without any medication. I found people talking about their experiences with the same mental differences/problems as me. And it is such an amazing relief to find that, to find people who are in that same situation, to know that you are not alone.
For most of my life, I believed that there was something wrong with me, because I was different than other people but I couldn’t understand why, or even how.
But now I know so much more, and I am well on my way to becoming mentally healthy. And I know that neurodivergences like Asperger’s are not inherently bad. It just means my brain works in a different way. Not a bad way; different. The word choice means all the difference in the world.
This is why I say I hope this post was just a big miscommunication. Because it seems like Tamora was talking about diseases and physical illnesses, while a-fierce-macaw was talking about mental differences/problems. And that makes it look like Tamora is criticizing self-diagnosis in general rather than self-diagnosing major illnesses and not proceeding to see a doctor for help.
Tamora, please don’t tell me you truly are ableist. Because that would mean you want to discriminate against me and keep me and others like me from getting the help we need. Ableism is the reason I thought there was something wrong and bad about myself for most of my life. Ableism keeps people from succeeding in school because American public schools are designed for neurotypical people without mental illness. Ableism is why so many people see nothing wrong with casually throwing around terms like OCD and depression, and then proceed not to take those issues seriously when people truly have them. Ableism is why when murderers are described as mentally ill or neurodivergent, a lot of people assume that mental illness and neurodivergency mean “crazy and murderous.” Ableism is why so many people with depression choose suicide instead of seeking help, because all around them are voices saying that their depression isn’t real and they’re just seeking attention.
Ableism needs to stop.